Kat Seiffert is a senior manager in marketing and communication services at SmithBucklin, where she specializes in digital marketing for associations and their events, including trade shows. She also serves on an internal working group at SmithBucklin focused on improving digital strategy and content.
5 Trade Show Website Marketing Tactics that Drive Serious Results
A trade show website is a critical part of the overall event experience. It promotes the event, drives attendance, generates awareness, and maintains interest afterward. Following are five trade show website must-haves to ensure your event gets the extra boost it needs to succeed.
1. Develop a Strategy Within the Greater Strategy
Other than word of mouth and email, your website is the primary communication vehicle that potential attendees, exhibitors and sponsors will use to learn about your event. Thus, having website-first mentality — including the development of a clear, measurable strategy specific to the website — is critical. That strategy should include ongoing tracking of user experiences and behaviors so you can more quickly identify any gaps. If your target audience doesn’t understand the flow of your website and is not compelled to register, then more work is needed on the website strategy.
2. Give Power to Your People
Go beyond the traditional email marketing kit and develop an interactive, always-up-to-date section on your website that enables highly engaged individuals to promote the event for you.
The site should house sample images, social media posts, blog content, email content, etc. This website-first approach will prevent key supporters from relying on outdated information. It will also increase your ability to track engagement and determine ROI.
3. Demand “Start-to-End” Conversion Tracking
Employ a conversion tracking strategy across all platforms to better understand your customers’ journey. This allows you to make adjustments to content, programming and/or navigational tools based on data. Depending on your technology set-up, implementing conversion tracking may require outside assistance — and of course the support of your technology providers. However, the rich, actionable data you receive will be well worth the time and investment.
4. Lean Into Google AdWords Remarketing
You’ve already gotten the hard part: getting someone to come to your website. Rather than hope that they are on your distribution lists, employ Google AdWords remarketing through your website so all users see display and/or text-based advertisements once they leave your site. This approach keeps your event top of mind without the need to gather their specific contact information for your traditional email marketing campaign.
5. Integrate to Avoid Misinformation
When selecting potential vendor partners, make sure they have an open API (application programming interface) that supports integrations with all of your critical technology platforms, such as your membership platform, email and/or marketing automation system, and your mobile app. Having a direct flow of information not only allows you to see a richer picture from which to take action, but also takes away much of the error-prone grunt work making multiple updates across multiple platforms. There will always be changes to content, programming, etc., for trade shows, but if you can quickly and adeptly make the necessary updates, your stakeholders will notice.